Dear VVMA Members,
As veterinarians, we devote each day to promoting animal well-being and health and continually support the mission of the VVMA by providing education for fellow veterinarians and the public. Toward that end, the VVMA has joined an effort to increase the professional and community awareness of the need for safe use, safe storage and safe disposal of prescription medications. While there is a lack of demonstrable evidence that any drug diversion is happening from veterinary offices, the problem of misuse and abuse of opioid medications is a local, state and national problem, and we want to share this information with you.
This information is provided by the collaborative efforts of the Bennington County Prescription Drug Task Force and has been distributed to veterinary clinics. A small cohort of your peers identified issues for inclusion into an informational document created specifically for those in the veterinary profession. This informational packet provides guidance regarding diversion, prescription requirements, prescription safeguards, a review of drug schedules, and contact information in the event prescription misuse or abuse is suspected. Additionally, safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal materials have been included and may be provided to clients receiving medications for the animal patient and/or displayed in your waiting or examination rooms. Please consider doing this even if you do not regularly prescribe controlled substances.
Also included for your information is the Veterinary Practice Guide to DEA Regulations that the VVMA produced in 2014.
Almost two million Americans, age 12 or older, either abused or were dependent on opioid pain relievers in 2013 and more than 16,000 people died in the United States from overdose related to opioid pain relievers that same year according to the New CDC Opioid Prescribing Guidelines: Improving the way Opioids are Prescribed for Safer Chronic Pain Treatment (2015). By increasing awareness and providing education, we hope to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription medications within our communities. Your cooperation in this endeavor is crucial for its success.
Thank you for your time and consideration of these materials.
Dr. Millie Armstrong